Worker Studio's Chief Creative Officer, Barry Kooser was a background Artist and Supervisor for 11 years at Walt Disney Feature Animation, contributing to films such as as The Lion King, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear, among others. He also ventured his painterly eye as a Fine Artist, exhibiting his work in galleries around the country. We're lucky to have this master artist inform Worker Studio's production design. We asked Barry what the Top 5 Production Designs that influenced his career in filmmaking are. As you'll see his influences range from classic Disney films to some of the most gorgeous live action films of the past 30 years. This is #2 in a series of posts.
#2 Bambi - Walt Disney (1942)
The story goes that the initial concept art of Disney's Bambi, captured dense woodland settings of New England, yet were busy and complicated, making the readibility of characters difficult. Enter Tyrus Wong, a budding in-betweener at Disney, skilled in Eastern landscape painting. Tyrus so impressed Disney with his ability to blend simplicity within the complex forest settings, his paintings set the entire production design of the film. The staging of the backgrounds is also notable in how they bring focus to the character, without the character dominating the frame; a method familiar to the great Chinese painters. This is demonstrated in the background paintings below. There is much to further explore about Bambi's production design - a good starting place being Hans Bacher's blog Animation Treasures, where you can read about the compared black & white layouts and final oil painted backgrounds above.
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